The video games business could be a really turbulent place, and there’s no telling what could turn out to be of a sport growth studio in just a few years’ time. As the price of growth continues to rise with every new console era, every venture comes with an enormous quantity of threat for the stakeholders. And if that threat doesn’t find yourself paying off, publishers and traders often resort to strict measures which might vary from canceling future tasks to downsizing workers to even outright closing the studio itself.
We’ve seen many promising studios fall because of such unlucky situations, and the latest closure of developer Volition is the newest within the line of many such instances. The studio has left a protracted legacy of nice hits and went by means of some troubled occasions throughout its lengthy lifespan, so let’s check out how the studio rose to greatness and ultimately shut its door.
Given the recognition of open world video games the place gamers can do no matter they need and create mayhem, Volition would go on to create a brand new IP within the type of Pink Faction, and this mayhem-focused action-adventure sport launched in 2001 proved to a turning level for Volition. However that success was largely short-lived as its sequel, Pink Faction 2 didn’t obtain anticipated gross sales – which led to each the IPs being placed on maintain.
Volition would go on to work on a franchise that will go on to outline the developer for the foreseeable future. The workforce deliberate to create a sport that will have parts of a first-person shooter together with the power to construct gangs, and that concept would quickly morph into one thing greater – an open-world sport that will broaden on the ideas of contemporaries like Grand Theft Auto whereas infusing its personal concepts into the combination.
Volition expanded the workforce by dozens throughout this sport’s manufacturing, and Saints Row was lastly launched for Xbox 360 in 2006. The sport was an instantaneous hit and along with being critically well-received – the sport additionally made spectacular gross sales for a brand new IP with over 2 million copies bought in its lifetime. Now that Saints Row turned out to be a profitable enterprise, the developer began work on sequels in an effort to show the IP right into a family identify.
Saints Row 2 was launched in 2008, and it took the franchise to new heights. The sequel featured a greater open world with hilarious writing, and followers completely cherished it. With two successes underneath its belt, Volition circled again to Pink Faction with Pink Faction: Guerrilla which was cherished by followers and critics alike. Volition would additionally produce Pink Faction: Armageddon which was an honest sport however ended up missing in gross sales which led to the franchise being placed on maintain for the foreseeable future.
Saints Row would return with a 3rd entry in 2011, which took what labored in Saints Row 2 and expanded on these concepts which resulted in one more profitable sequel. Nevertheless, the studio was crusing by means of troubled waters as soon as once more in 2012 – which led the developer and its IPs (which incorporates Saints Row) to be bought off to Koch Media and would turn out to be part of Deep Silver.
Volition then got here again with Saints Row 4 which was launched in 2013, and the brand new sport went even crazier with protagonists having superpowers and aliens being concerned alongside a complete host of wacky weapons. It appeared that Volition was again within the sport, however this sport would mark the final of the developer’s successes.
After Saints Row 4, the developer launched Brokers of Mayhem in 2017 which was a spin-off to the mainline Saints Row collection. It had some good issues going for it, however the closing product was nothing particular and it ended up being acquired poorly with disappointing gross sales and combined critiques. In consequence, the studio was downsized with a number of layoffs – and would ultimately begin work on the subsequent entry on this long-running franchise.
The Saints Row reboot launched in 2022, tried to deliver the collection again to its previous roots because it tried to craft a steadiness between realism and over-the-top motion, however these efforts bore little fruit as the sport flopped exhausting. In accordance with some critics, the sport felt dated compared to different contemporaries and the franchise’s signature humor lacked any form of persona on this reboot, which in the end led to disappointing gross sales figures. Whereas there have been some who appreciated what the sport did, majority of the gamers weren’t proud of the expertise. Volition would go on to help the sport for a yr with downloadable growth packs and patches that promised to repair the sport. Whether or not the sport is an fulfilling expertise in 2023 is one thing that’s up for debate however it was quickly turning into a case of “too little, too late.”
With two subsequent flops in Brokers of Mayhem and Saints Row, Deep Silver’s mother or father firm transformed the studio right into a subsidiary of Gearbox Software program in an effort to reallocate its sources throughout its sub-organizations. The mother or father firm had signed a deal value $2 billion with a Public Funding Agency, and the corporate was set to make use of that cash for additional growth to its video games enterprise. Nevertheless, the deal by no means got here by means of and the mother or father firm needed to reduce out prices in consequence. Many tasks have been canceled, and since Volition did not ship with its final two tasks – its doorways have been closed with quick impact, placing an finish to the story of this studio.
It’s positively a tragic state of affairs, however it’s additionally the character of the beast that’s sport growth. To circle again, producing a sport takes a ton of money and time, and if that funding doesn’t bear any tangible outcomes – there’ll at all times be repercussions for it which might be as extreme as shutting down the studio itself. Whereas Volition’s output wasn’t essentially the most constant by means of the years, it was nonetheless a reliable developer that might have turned its progress round had it been given one other probability. In spite of everything, it did handle to outlive exhausting occasions – so there was an honest probability that it might simply ship a game-changing hit within the close to future.
Because it stands, Pink Faction and Saints Row have been transferred over to Plaion which incorporates subsidiaries like Deep Silver and Flying Wild Hog. Lots of the studios that occur to fall underneath Plaion might do some nice work with these IPs – so there’s hope that we’d see Saints Row and Pink Faction proceed with out the involvement of Volition. However will these IPs lose their soul? Properly, we now have to attend and see.
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